Touching the Blue

3 Stars

***

Clive Russell gives a powerful and poignant performance as Derek Rogers a fictional, veteran snooker player who, as a teenager many decades earlier, had been the youngest ever world champion. The play is an autobiographical account of a sports personality who has experienced fame and wealth at a young age followed by his descent into the doldrums.

Rogers as a young man was a charismatic character with a precocious snooker ability. His nickname was ‘The Thunderbolt Kid’. Born in a Glasgow tenement, he has the west of Scotland gallus humour.  He looks back over his life; his possessive mother, the failed marriages, and nervous breakdown. He is living on borrowed time due to alcoholism.

Miraculously, he has qualified for the World Championship Finals at the Crucible Theatre. He tells his story from a dingy dressing at this venue which didn’t quite ring true for me. However, giving authenticity, there is a TV monitor with clips of film showing famous commentators such as Dennis Taylor giving recollections of Rogers in his prime.

As the play draws to a climax, he reveals an outlandish secret which only he and his losing opponent in his winning of the world championship know about. As a story, it does have comparisons with real sporting legends that have experienced spectacular success at an early age only to squander their talent when they should have been at their prime.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number                  Assembly @ George Street; V3

Dates                                                  5 to 29 August 2010 (not 16)

Times                                                 15.30 to 16.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 297

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